JVC HA-NCX78-1

The last pair of JVC earbuds I reviewed I didn’t like so much.  These are much better, and cheaper!  The JVC HA-NCX78 Multi Noise Canceling EarBuds claim to reduce up to 88% of ambient noise interference.  How you could accurately gauge that is beyond me but I can tell you this, these JVC’s attempt to have every angle covered.

JVC HA-NCX78 Multi Noise Canceling EarBuds Review

From wind and ambient noise to electrical and cord friction noise, the JVC’s do their best to keep your ears and mind totally focused on the music at hand.  The first noise reduction system is that of ambient noise reduction but there is nothing you can see actually working.  You just have to believe and envision the climb to 88%.  Most visually notable is the active monitoring system that hangs between the earbuds and the input jack.  Powered by a single AAA battery and featuring a shirt clip for tethering, the monitoring system lets you toggle on and off electrical noise reduction.  Aside from the on/off button there is a monitor button that you can press if you need cut all sound to hear your surroundings, like the pilot speaking on an airplane, etc.  For wire friction noise, the JVC’s have detachable “over the ear” loops that actually fit really nice and keep the earbuds nice and snuggled tight.  Wind noise is prevented by the candy corn shape of the actual earbud.

So do these 4 noise reduction components really work?  I’ll break it down:

  • Wind Noise Reduction: Not so much.  This was the worst of the systems actually.  Riding my bike and walking I noticed a lot of wind, partially I’m sure because of the creeping placebo effect but still.  I have recently been using the Razer Moray’s and noticed that they had little to no wind due to their shape.  I think the actual design of the JVC’s makes them suck the in the wind and that they are just too flat.  I know I’m no earbud engineer but the design just seems backwards to me.
  • Ambient Noise Reduction: Pretty good.  I’d say around 70% rather than 88%, but they held up pretty well in public areas.  While I did not have the chance to try them on an airplane, I did test them while bike riding around Portland and working out at 24 Hour Fitness.  They performed well in the gym and blocked out the painful gym music and most of the other ancillary sounds like weights clanging or people talking.  On the streets where sounds were louder and sharper, the JVC’s did well but could not contain the shrieks of big muffler on a motorcycle or the brakes on a bus.  Understandably, though.
  • Electrical / White Noise Reduction: I honestly didn’t notice anything.  Turning it on did make the sound much brighter and a little bit louder.  Oddly enough, when turned on and no music is playing you actually hear an ever present hiss.  No matter as it wasn’t bothersome.  One thing, though, was that you have to remember to switch it off when you are done as it doesn’t power down with your device.  Kind of annoying but there is an on/off switch.
  • Wire/Cord Noise Reduction: I also didn’t notice much of any type of cord noise and or reduction.  I will say that adding the detachable ear loops adds a greater stability to overall fit and feel of the HA-NCX78′s.  Without them you kind of feel like you should be wearing them upside down as the cord sort of leads you that way.  With them on, the earbuds fit firm in your ear, allowing you to remain active.

So while all these noise reduction systems may be a little bit of unfound hype, they definitely work.  Sound wise, the JVC’s are nothing glaringly astounding but hold their own with plenty of other earbuds at their price range.  Having a well rounded and compact sound reproduction they got a little shrill at higher volumes.  Bass response was moderately tight with no signs of muffling or overbearing swell.  Midrange and treble frequencies were mild but not dull.

Other areas of note:  I like the bent input jack as it worked with my setup well.  The JVC’s come with 3 sizes of rubber inserts and one foam one to ensure a custom fit.  They also come with a pleather carrying case and an airplane adapter.

In conclusion, the JVC HA-NCX78 Multi Noise Canceling EarBuds score well in most areas and while being slightly gimmicky, would be an ideal choice for a traveler or music enthusiast.  However, I highly don’t recommend them if you like listening to music while riding bicycles.  The wind noise reduction system was the biggest disappointment for me but I have no problem giving these earbuds a higher than average score.

Pros:

  • Decent noise reduction in a variety of scenarios
  • Good features: shirt clip, ear loops, active monitoring
  • Fair price given performance

Cons:

  • Noise reduction systems can be more placebo than reality
  • Wind noise reduction is weak
  • Sound reproduction can always be better!

Buy them here for $46!



Jeff B